Visa Launches NFT Program To Accelerate Small Businesses and Empower Digital Creators

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Visa launched a program to help creators navigate NFTs as part of the company’s ongoing efforts to help small and micro businesses gain greater access to the digital economy. The one-year immersion program is geared toward entrepreneurs working in art, music, fashion and film looking to accelerate their small business through NFTs.

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Visa said that there are 50 million artists, musicians and creators who publish content as a full- or part-time source of income. With an estimated market size of more than $100 billion, the creator economy is one of the fastest-growing categories of small business, according to an announcement.

The goal of the program is to bring together digital creators and empower them through product strategy mentorship.

“NFTs have the potential to become a powerful accelerator for the creator economy,” Cuy Sheffield, head of crypto at Visa, said in the announcement. “We’ve been studying the NFT ecosystem and its potential impacts on the future of commerce, retail and social media. Through the Visa Creator Program, we want to help this new breed of small and micro businesses tap into new mediums for digital commerce.”

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Kevin Primicerio, co-founder & CEO of NFT music platform Pianity, told GOBankingRates that NFTs open up great opportunities for all kinds of creators.

“They are transforming the way artists can create value from their work and — just as important — deepen their relationship with their fans. It’s a game-changer for many industries and even more so for independent creators, such as emerging artists, who are struggling to monetize their work through third party platforms,” he said. “It’s great to see major players supporting creators through such programs and helping to democratize NFTs. Many creators need education about NFTs, the potential the strategy, and which marketplace to use regarding the kind of art sold.”

Visa’s program is focused on supporting creators in five key areas, the company said. It includes technical and product mentorship with Visa’s team of crypto product and strategy leaders. Additional areas include community building, with access to thought leaders across digital commerce, Web3, crypto and payments; exposure to Visa’s clients and partners; and a one-time stipend to help creators kick-start the next phase of growth, the company said.

Jordan Birnholtz, CMO and co-founder at Neon, a marketplace and gallery built on the Solana blockchain, which launched an NFT ATM in New York City’s financial district in February, as GOBankingRates previously reported, said that it’s great to see Visa is taking an interest in the creator economy.

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“Fintechs have been doing this for some time, but now that traditional financial institutions are getting involved in the space, we expect to see the momentum continue,” Birnholtz, told GOBankingRates. “What remains the most important is to create a space for these individuals to grow their businesses — and we at Neon are most excited to see others taking interest in their success.”

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In August 2021, Visa bought a CryptoPunk NFT for $150,000, as collecting “an NFT that symbolizes the excitement and opportunity of this particular cultural moment. We’re a company steeped in the history of commerce and payments — but with our eyes on the future. With our CryptoPunk purchase, we’re jumping in feet first. This is just the beginning of our work in this space,” Sheffield said in a blog post at the time.

“To help our clients and partners participate, we need a firsthand understanding of the infrastructure requirements for a global brand to purchase, store, and leverage an NFT,” Sheffield said. “We also wanted to signal our support for the creators, collectors, and artists driving the future of  NFT-commerce. Enabling buyers and sellers is what we do — whether it’s helping small and micro business owners get online, or making it easier for companies to pay their partners across borders. We’re excited to work with this growing community to make NFTs useable and accessible in a variety of contexts.”

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.

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